Shocking and incredulous might be inadequate words to describe the outburst of Senator Roxanne Persaud in the august New York State Senate floor on the outcome of Guyana’s 2020 elections when she rose to commemorate Guyana’s 51st Republic anniversary. Senator Roxanne, an Afro-Guyanese American, who represents 19th District in Brooklyn, lambasted US role in guaranteeing democracy in Guyana. Senator Roxanne was mis-informed about and mis-represents the outcome of the election with her remarks in the hallowed chamber. Her statement was replete with inaccuracies on the elections. Apparently, she relied on biased information.
Somehow, because the US insisted that the APNU led coalition accept the democratic will of the voters, the Senator concluded that US decided the winner of the elections. She is plain wrong. The Guyana voters decided the outcome when they cast their ballots on March 2nd. After the votes were counted that very evening, observers and the media reported that the opposition PPP had won the elections. The ruling APNU claimed victory and said that the election was free and fair, free from interference, and the best conducted elections in decades. Attempts to declare the right winner was stopped by rogue elements within GECOM, who then made several efforts to rig the elections. The Chair of Gecom, diplomats, and international observers also praised election day procedures. Issues arose over the counting of ballots a day after the election when APNU realized it had lost. Diplomats, observers, and the media urged APNU to present SOPs, the public documents of vote counts that were posted outside polling stations. Elements within GECOM refused to use the official Statement of Polls to declare a winner of the elections. Chief Justice, Honorable Roxanne George, a decent Roxanne, ruled in the High Court of Guyana that the official statement of polls must be used to declare a winner. The USA, UK, Canada, France, CARICOM, OAS, Commonwealth of Nations, and others witnessed the attempt to flagrantly rig the election. They demanded that the official statement of polls be used to declare the winner. They condemned the effort to rig. The United States and the international community simply asked that the will of the people of Guyana be accepted. The PPP/C, after five months of delay, was declared the winner. Clearly, Senator Roxanne made a terrible mistake to assail the US government for being a neutral observer in the election. The US did not decide the outcome of the 2020 elections but played a leading role in the outcome of the 2015 elections that resulted in the PPP being removed from office, replaced by APNU.
It was only after APNU realized that it lost the 2020 election that a plan was effected to barefaced rig the outcome. The former Jamaican PM Bruce Golding said it was the most transparent effort he had ever seen to rig an election.
It is beyond comprehension why Senator Roxanne did not fact find her information on the election. She would have found out that Caricom nations, rather than the US, played a significant role in helping to certify the outcome for the elections commission (GECOM). There was a recount that was conducted in the presence of a Caricom auditing observer group. Then President Granger invited the Caricom group to supervise and certify the recount, saying it was the best interlocutor. The recount was done under public camera. Caricom recount concluded that PPP won the election. The PNC rejected the outcome. Gecom accepted the recount numbers as credible. APNU started a campaign to vilify Caricom leaders. Besides Caricom, OAS, EU. US, Canada, and over 100 countries acknowledged the outcome of the elections as declared by Gecom and have accepted the PPP as the winner. Not one country or observer agreed with APNU that it won or that there was electoral fraud in declaring the outcome.
Senator Roxanne failed to mention that APNU refused to honor the outcome of a no confidence motion that it lost on December 21, 2018 that required elections by March 2019; the election was not held until a year later and only after the regime caved in to international pressure. APNU defied the court that ruled elections be held. In addition, there was an aversion to rule of law and other tenets of the constitution such as in the appointment of a Chair of Gecom. The Senator made no mention of efforts by some demanding the swearing in of a President when the outcome was not declared and when challenges were before the court.
Instead of attacking the US, Senator Roxanne should have instructed APNU to adhere to constitutional principles and democratic norms. Guyanese praised the US and international community role in securing the democratic outcome of the vote. The Guyanese people want America to play greater role in protecting the country’s democracy.
To redeem herself, she should read the judgments of the Chief Justice, the CCJ, as well as the recount reports from Caricom and the remarks of all western diplomats. Guyanese, observers, media people, and Caribbean nationals are most disappointed in the Senator for her ill-informed remarks. She should correct her mis-statements about the election on the Senate floor as well as apologize for her mis-representation of the facts!